As we all strive to save money, one area that can sometimes be difficult to save on is produce – we have ways of saving on meat, dairy, and our regular groceries (thanks to Coupons!), but produce can be more difficult for some.
Although we don’t find many coupons on produce, I think that produce is relatively easy to save on – we are fortunate in Arizona that we have an abundance of local farms, we have Hispanic Grocers that have amazing produce prices (that we can often price match) and some of us have access to Farmers Markets that make it incredibly easy to save on our favorite produce items.
You can find several ways to save on produce – here are just a few ways that I am able to save – hopefully these tips resonate with you as well.
Have a Meal Plan in Mind.
Sit down and take a look at what is on sale each week as you work on your meal plan. If the current week includes a great price on Peppers, Onions, or Potatoes, you can modify your mean plan to include those items that revolve around what is on sale.
A great example would be finding a great sale on Bell Peppers – combined with Rice, inexpensive Tomato Sauce, & a little Ground Beef you can make a meal. Use the remainder of the peppers and slice up for the grill – top on burgers during the week.
This week I was able to stock up on Peppers….. Squash, Watermelon, and Tomatillos – they all work amazing for dinner meals, salsa, and even Watermelon Drink.
Buy What is In Season
Try to buy what is in season instead of buying just anything on your trip – you’ll save yourself so much more f you are familiar with the seasonal produce in your area.
You can use the interactive map from Epicurious to determine what is best purchase each month in your respective area. Remember that an abudance of anything can allow you to can, or chop & freeze for soups & stews in months that those items may not be as inexpensive.
Use the Weekly Price Match List to capture the best price on various produce items to minimize your trips to the store, and price match at Walmart. Not all Walmart stores may price match our stores El Super, Food City or Pro’s, but if yours does, it’s much easier to shop at one store than drive to several.
Grow a Garden
I prefer growing produce myself, but this might not be a savings until at least the 2nd or 3rd year.
Growing your own garden is a great way to save, but it requires regular attention, water, and patience…… you may not start recouping that investment until the 2nd year.
Take a look at what grows best in your area with this regional gardening map; set your location and then enter your email address to set up reminders & view planting calendars.
Produce & Farmers Markets
Check your local area for Farmers Markets – if you are in Arizona (the Phoenix area) we have a few Farmers Markets that you can visit that make for some amazing deals.
Superstition Farmers Market is in between Higley & Greenfield on Main in Mesa – my last trip there (which was 3 weeks ago) yielded:
- Strawberries 3 lbs for $1
- Butternut Squash $.39 lb
- Lettuce, Iceberg 5/$1
- Peppers, Red Bell 8/$1
- Peppers, Gold Bell 4/$1
- Peppers, Green Bell 4/$1
- Avocados 8/$1
- Blackberries $.99
And, Superstition Ranch Market is on 7 N. 114th St. in Apache Junction (on Apache Trail just past Signal Butte).. they often have much cheaper produce than the grocery store – some of it tends to turn quickly (ie. Strawberries) – but it’s a great way to score inexpensive produce to can for jams, or chop and freeze for soups/stews.
Some other ways to save:
Use overage from store catalinas or other purchases to save. Find something that is better than FREE? Buy it, use the overage towards produce items you would rather have a difficult time saving on.
Buy markdown produce. Most stores have an area that they place markdown produce- Bashas, and Fry’s both regularly re-bag produce and sell at a lower cost. Jalapenos are a great example of that – if you can pick up those items for less you can use them to make banana bread, or, salsa (if Jalapenos!) – ask them to save the items for you as well. The picture above is my Fry’s trip today – 6/26…… I scored 5 bags of produce at $.98 each.
Reach out to Produce Companies to Request Coupons. Tanimura & Antle recently sent me several coupons valid on any item… contact companies through their website in request of coupons, you will be surprised at the responses that you earn.
There are so many avenues to save – many of which I probably did not list here. Feel free to share the ways you save on produce.